What’s the telltale sign of spring for you? Is it the weather finally breaking and the trees starting to bloom? Or is it relentless itchy eyes and a runny nose that has you reaching for the antihistamines?
To put it simply, allergies are an immune system overreaction to allergens. This triggers the annoying puffy eyes, sneezing, and congestion that can leave you stuck inside on gorgeous spring days. While conventional drugs may relieve allergy symptoms, they don’t address the root cause and often come with side effects—like heavy drowsiness that can leave you nodding off at your desk.
So what’s the solution? We talked to our ND, Dr. Jeremy Wolf, about a few natural remedies to help keep you from sniffling through an entire season!
Treating allergies through diet
When it comes to diet, Dr. Wolf says, “natural substances such as quercetin, stinging nettles, bromelain, vitamin-C, and omega 3 fatty acids may help kick the allergy symptoms. You can find many of these ingredients in every day foods such as onions and berries for quercetin, salmon and fatty fish for omega 3’s, citrus fruits for vitamin c and pineapple for bromelain.” Incorporating anti-inflammatory foods can help keep your immune system strong so it can help fight off common allergies.
Try homeopathic formulas
“There are some homeopathic remedies that are more commonly used for allergies than others,” says Dr. Wolf. “One of these is Allium Cepa, a formula made from onions. If you think about the symptoms you experience when chopping an onion (burning and watery discharge from the eyes and nose) it makes sense that this may be used to combat allergies.” This follows the homeopathic principle of “like cures like.”
You can also try combination remedies “which include a variety of single remedies that are commonly used to treat allergies. The idea is if you take a variety of different remedies, your body is likely to react to one of them.”
An important note from Dr. Wolf: “there isn’t one homeopathic remedy for allergies that trumps others, as it depends on the individual and the symptoms a person is experiencing.” This is why you should always talk to your physician before starting a new supplement or treatment.
Can eating local honey prevent allergies?
A common practice touted in the wellness world is taking a tablespoon of local raw honey every day in the weeks prior to allergy season. When asked about this, Dr. Wolf replied “The thought process behind that treatment is if you eat local honey, you might be ingesting local pollen, and over time you may become less sensitive to pollen which could result in fewer allergy symptoms. This is similar to using allergy shots or sublingual drops to desensitize the body to the allergens.”
He continues to say “It’s hard to know exactly how much pollen you’re actually ingesting. I don’t recommend this to my patients as I don’t think there is any research that currently proves the honey trick to have actually worked.”
You don’t have to stay stuck indoors this spring! Talk with your doctor about your options, and consider taking a natural route to allergy prevention this season.